Rabies found in dead skunk in Southfield, warning issued

The Oakland County Health Division reported a confirmed case of rabies in a dead skunk removed from Southfield north of 10 Mile Road, south of Lincoln Road between Southfield and Greenfield Roads.

It has been reported that multiple dead skunks were recently found in this area but were not tested for rabies. If additional dead wild animals are found within this specific area, call the Health Division at 248-858-1286. Residents are urged to stay away from wild animals such as skunks, bats, raccoons, foxes, and stray cats and dogs. 
"Avoid stray, wild, and dead animals to protect yourself against rabies,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County. “Rabies is present in our communities. People and their pets need to be careful and avoid encounters with unfamiliar animals.”   If a wild animal is found behaving strangely, call local animal control for assistance. If you or your household pet is bitten by any wild animal or an animal unknown to you, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical or veterinary attention immediately. To report an animal bite, call the Health Division at 248-858-1286.  
The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and is spread through bites or scratches. Rabies is not spread through a skunk’s spray. There are simple steps everyone can take to protect themselves from rabies: 

  • Have pets vaccinated regularly. This will protect them if exposed to animals with the disease and prevent them from becoming ill and infecting humans.
  • Do not handle stray, wild, or dead animals.
  •  Call local animal control experts for help if an animal is acting strangely, including:
  • Having problems swallowing o Exhibiting lots of drool or saliva o Appearing tamer than you would expect o Biting at everything o Having trouble moving or is paralyzed 
  • Keep pets indoors or supervised to limit their exposure to wild animals that may be rabid.
  •  Use a leash when walking dogs or keep them in a fenced-in yard.
  • Do not feed or put water for pets outside.
  •  Keep garbage securely covered, as these items may attract wild or stray animals. 

 More information about rabies can be found on the Health Division’s website at oakgov.com/health or by contacting Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 or noc@oakgov.com. Nurse on Call is available 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.